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June 4: Diamond Exploration in Kalimantan, Indonesia

Diamond Exploration in Kalimantan, Indonesia

Dennis Dunn

Anaconda Minerals performed a heavy mineral diamond exploration program in the jungles of Indonesia during the mid-1980’s. Alluvial diamonds were known from the area and we were searching for the primary source of these diamonds. This photo log of the exploration shows the initial evaluation visit through the establishment of a “base camp” and use of various exploration methods. Many interactions with the native population are photo documented. One story tells of an emergency helicopter landing in a village of “headhunters”. Ultimately, the diamonds were traced from the alluvial terraces back to various older deposits. Some intrusives were tested, but all proved barren of diamonds. Abundant gold recovered led to the prospecting license being sold to an Australian Gold Company.



Dennis was born in Philadelphia, PA and received a B.S. in Geology from Penn State University and a M.S. from Arizona State University.  He worked in diamond exploration with Anaconda /Arco both domestically and in the jungles of Indonesia in the early 1980’s.  Dennis continued his interests in diamond exploration in Arkansas during the late 1980’s when he was appointed as a technical advisor to the Arkansas State Parks commission on commercial mining at the “Crater of Diamonds” State Park.  In 1993, he designed a regional diamond exploration program in Labrador, Canada which resulted in the discovery of the Voisey’s Bay Ni-Cu-Co deposit valued at over $100 billion.  Early in 1995, Dennis opened the Diamond Fields office in St John’s, Newfoundland to oversee the exploration drilling and initiate the baseline studies for the project’s Environmental Impact Studies (EIS).  In 1996, he returned to Arkansas to complete the economic evaluation of the “Crater of Diamonds” State Park.  Dennis completed a Ph.D. on the Arkansas diamondiferous lamproites at the University of Texas at Austin in December 2002.  From 2004, Dennis taught geology and environmental sciences at Austin Community College.  In 2008, he was hired by the University of Texas at Austin to help write the earth sciences curriculum for a discovery-based course for future elementary teachers.  He continues to modify and teach this ground-breaking curriculum at UT Austin.